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Searching for an End to AIDS

by James Heller 7. August 2009 08:03
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides HIV/AIDS services as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  Like anyone else, we would love to see a cure for the virus.  But at this time it is important that individuals with HIV/AIDS can look to us for alcohol and drug detox and treatment, as well as housing and resources that can help them live with the virus.  And hope is always on the horizon.

Individuals who use alcohol and drugs are at high risk of acquiring the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which is virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  People with alcohol dependence or drug addiction may engage in high risk unprotected sexual behavior or actively share syringes which can transmit the virus from one person to another.  

Although HIV/AIDS is an incurable and fatal disease, modern science has allowed doctors to successfully treat patients, extending life for years and decades.  But there is still no cure. That means there is nothing that modern science can do to ensure that an HIV-positive or AIDS diagnosed person does not die prematurely from HIV/AIDS related causes.

One thing that scientists are looking into is an HIV vaccine. To make the vaccine, scientists take bits of HIV, make changes to the virus, and then use it in a vaccine. There is no whole HIV in the vaccine; you cannot get HIV from the vaccine.

Here are four possible ways the HIV vaccine may work:  

1. Sterilizing Immunity
This is a vaccine that would make it impossible for the vaccinated person to both get HIV, and to pass it on to others. Many routine vaccines work this way.

2. Transient Infection
With this vaccine a person will get HIV, but the body will be able to fight off the virus. It might be possible to give HIV to others for a short period of time. This vaccine would extend lives of people infected with HIV.

3. Long Term Controlled Infection
With this vaccine a person could still get HIV, but it would be a very mild, and would be difficult, or impossible, to give the virus to anyone else. This vaccine would also extend the lives of people infected with HIV

4. Altruistic Vaccine
This vaccine would have no effect for people that were vaccinated, but it would prevent vaccinated people from spreading HIV to others.

The sites below provide more information, as well as clinics where you can get involved in Clinical Trials to test HIV vaccines.

If you want to learn more about HIV and AIDS, look here:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/definitions.htm

If you want to get involved in clinical trials for vaccines, go here:
HIV Vaccine Trial Network  

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.